Every guy looks forward to the day they can finally show their kid that one beloved piece of pop culture — that movie, show, band, song, or something you just love. You plot out the right age for them to experience it. You constantly drop hints about how great it is. You dream of the day when you can fully experience that cross-generational bond. But what if the unthinkable happens? What if when your kid finally experiences your obsession and their reaction is just … meh? Or worse, what if they hate it?
The latest episode of CBS new time-jumping sitcom Me, Myself, & I explored this tragic dad circumstance when Alex (played by SNL alum Bobby Moynihan) realizes his daughter Abby is old enough to watch Star Wars for the first time. Spoiler alert: she’s not a fan.
As it does for many, many men of a certain age, Star Wars holds a special place in Alex’s heart. Beyond just being a nerdy kid who dreamed of escaping his boring life for something greater in a galaxy far, far away, Alex also views the movie as a touchstone in his relationship with his stepdad Ron.
It all starts when Alex finds out that at long last he will get the chance to see the space epic in theaters (these flashbacks take place in 1991, so Alex has only watched the movie on VHS), he begs his mom and stepdad to let him go. They say no because it’s at midnight on a school night, so Alex sneaks out and eventually gets caught by his stepdad. After Alex confesses he’s having a hard time getting used to having a dad to answer to, Ron lies to Alex’s mom and pretends like he took Alex as a surprise. This simple cover-up brings the two closer together.
With all of this in mind, present-day Alex could not be more excited to watch Star Wars with Abby when she drops a tragic revelation: she already watched it with Ron. This devastates Alex. He had waited his daughter’s whole life for this and now it was taken away from him? He confronts Ron, telling him that he stole a parenting moment that could never be returned. What dad can’t relate? Such firsts only come once. To lose that moment is to lose out on it forever. Eventually, Alex is relieved to discover Abby had actually watched the prequels, which everyone knows are total dogshit.
Alex finally sits down with his daughter to watch Star Wars. For Alex, it’s an unbelievable moment. But Abby does not view The Force and lightsabers with as much admiration as him. She’s almost immediately bored and wishes they were watching Princess Diaries instead. Alex is hurt but knows he can’t show it. That wouldn’t be fair to his daughter. It’s not her fault she doesn’t like it. But to him, it’s brutal. Parenting forces us to endure countless tiny wounds. Birthday gifts pained over but ignored when received. Companionship taken for granted as new friends come along. Advice mocked because it’s you who’s providing it. It happens. But we endure. Because we know that the kids don’t mean it.
So, as much as it pains him, Alex swaps out his lightsaber for a tiara and watches Princess Diaries with his daughter. Ultimately, Alex realizes that getting to watch his daughter enjoy Anne Hathaway discover she’s the princess of a made-up country is more rewarding than watching Star Wars alone. Because a father’s life, when it comes down to it, is about making memories for his kids. Rarely are those moments the ones we try to craft in our heads.